Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government
General Studies 3
Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Awareness in the fields of IT, Computers
PM Modi uploaded the Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) on Supreme Court (SC) website and marked the introduction of digital filing. It is a great step towards digitization and moving towards paperless SC.
The new system, aimed at serving as a digital repository for case-related information. Its functions include the option of e-filing cases, checking listing dates, case status, online service of notice/summons, office reports and overall tracking of progress of a case filed with the apex court registry.
It is also proposed that it will operate as an online gateway for payment of court fee and process fee. Other features offered under the new system include an online court fee calculator. This is expected to streamline the filing process for both the advocates and the registry.
This system aims to ensure transparency, provide easy access to case information and help in reducing the time in filing pleadings. Every part of the filing process will now be monitored and thus there will be timelines.
There is huge pendency in almost all courts of the country with approx. 2.8 crore cases pending. In SC alone, nearly 60,000 cases were pending till April 2017.
The new system aims to make the judiciary system transparent and rule out the manipulation of records. The litigants will have to file appeal through digital process. This means that file from HC will transfer directly to SC. It will boost efficiency of SC and also be environment friendly as lot of paper will be saved which at present is used humongously in each case.
With paper work reduced, there will be cost reduction too. But the legal cost and the lawyer fees are huge. This makes legal remedies out of reach for many. And once caught in legal web, lifetime savings can go to seek justice. Thus it is expected that greater transparency will bring these in light and may be there will be pressure to reduce the fees.
Another delay is because of frequented adjournments. So it goes on for year after year. This situation also needs a look.
Thus, key questions to be asked are: Will it deal with delays and harassment? Will the adjournment be limited? Will the legal cost be reduced?
The e-court project
The e-courts project is conceptualized by Supreme Court of India and is being implemented in high courts and district and subordinate courts. E-courts are nothing but paperless courts.
The goals envisaged in the e-courts project include providing time-bound services which will enhance judicial productivity while making the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective and transparent.
In an effort to expedite justice delivery, the Government is planning to digitize all of the 15,000 subordinate courts across the country. This reform would not only provide judgments and track proceedings online, but also act as a check on unwarranted adjournments by judicial officers. Information like the next date of hearing, submission of number of witnesses, past proceedings, etc. will be capable of being accessed from any part of the globe. All judgments are to be made available online latest by 6 pm on the same day, similar to process followed in SC.
Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are yet to be connected with the national grid because the software used by them is different from the ones used by the national data grid. These were the first states to have started computerization in the courts.
Achievement– In a giant leap towards digitisation, the Supreme Court has digitised one crore five lakh pages and records of civil appeals, ranging from the pre-independence era till 2002 as part of its recent reforms.
Challenges with e-filing
Filing/uploading of wrong documents
Uploading not possible due to oversize of the documents
Misinterpretation of E-filing notices
Improper handling of confidentiality issues
Lack of awareness and knowledge of technicalities among the judicial officers as well as litigants.
Connecting the 24 HCs and the subordinate courts with the whole system will be a huge task. With digitized system, the litigants should come to know the exact costs and manipulation of records possible. The boost is also given by PM who has been great advocate of digitalization and espousing it for a while. This path can give a big push to government programme of Digital India. Changing of mindset and making a shift to digital technology in the judiciary will help the judicial institution to carry out the activities in more organized and systematic way with more transparency and accountability. As put by PM, the new equation of Information Technology + Indian Talent= India Tomorrow can do wonders for the nation.
Connecting the dots:
Digitization of judiciary is facing various challenges. Analsye the new digital processes introduced in the judiciary and limitations thereon.
A digital judiciary is important pillar of Digital India. Critically examine.